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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:03 PM

"The Source of all Things"...and other difficult women's issues

I am taking a English class, Creative Non-Fiction, this quarter that is becoming very slanted towards Women's Issues. But not the fun kind...

this book is a tell all memoir about a girl and her stepfathetr's sexual abuse...

then we were supposed to go to a reading of Get Out of My Crotch last Fri for extra credit. I am very glad I DID NOT go because most of the readings had to do with rape and sexual abuse.

Now I understand the need for us to have vocal women and other victims, so that others may feel better about their stuff. But I personally have a very hard time dealing with the topic. And try as I might to look at the CRAFT of the writing, the content just turns my stomach and makes my blood boil.
I was sexually abused by my husband over 3 years and my daughter narrowly escaped the beginning of molestation at 2 yrs...

How do we get past the bile to honor the artist and respect the art, even if we can't love or enjoy it?

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Reply "The Source of all Things"...and other difficult women's issues (Original post)
FirstLight Jan 2013 OP
libodem Jan 2013 #1
FirstLight Jan 2013 #2
libodem Jan 2013 #3
FirstLight Jan 2013 #4
FirstLight Jan 2013 #5

Response to FirstLight (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:13 AM

1. Tough situation

Maybe the same way a social worker with burnout copes with the next kid. It has to be done. You carry on. Or maybe it just isn't for you? Can you withdraw? Different things and situations are triggers for old memories and not everyone is hung ho on sharing or listening to how others were abused. At some point it is kind of exploitive.

Seems like for a general class this has personal issues. Very deep, dark, intimate, personal, stuff for professionals in a theraputic session. Not a classroom.

You are right to be concerned. But until you figure out what to do, I would try to remain detached and objective as possible. If this is for a grade, this may sound mercenary, but you figure out what that teacher wants, and you give it to her.

You asked.

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Response to libodem (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:55 AM

2. well said

I am going for the writer's approach...look at style, look at prose....keep personal to Self

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Response to FirstLight (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:17 AM

3. good idea

It sounds somewhat out of hand.

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Response to FirstLight (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 05:27 PM

4. Kick, this is what I submitted

Attached you will find my best attempt at the Essay for The Source...
I will be excusing myself from class for any further discussion of this book and hope to submit an alternate review/extra credit in lieu of attending the Q&A with Ms. Ross. Please outline details of what you will accept in it's place.

Please look at the links below and consider the effect of your choices of material. The past 48 hours for me have been HELL. After 10 years and thorough therapy, I spent yesterday in a wash of emotions and physical reactions that I have not experienced in years. My family and current boyfriend did NOT need to watch that or be the targets of my emotions...

I won't be sharing or discussing this in class, nor do I need to give you any more detail. Just letting you know I will quietly excuse myself in the event of further discussions of this nature.



Also, I will invite you to look at why this is a topic or a book you thought was so great. You laugh that this was not your intention to make this class a "women's studies" class, and that this just happens to be what is out there right now. I would suggest that this plays into the current rape culture, and is NOT constructive in the debate over womens rights.


here's what I wrote, 2 paragraphs of a 3 page assignment...with link to the CDC report on Sexual Violence

What is ‘The source of All Things’…? According to this author I am not sure. Is it Nature? Is it Creator? Is it Forgiveness? Is it her Father? I am sure somewhere in this book there was an actual explanation of what this statement means, but honestly, the subject matter overshadowed the point. Just because a topic is uncomfortable or shocking doesn’t mean it is worthy of being called Literature.
Sure, there were little ‘writers tricks’ that match what we are talking about in class throughout the book. But why is this considered to be a literary advancement? There are plenty of these examples in other modern and older writings. This author really has nothing more going for her than the fact that these topics SELL and that we live in a Rape and Sex crazed culture and are culturally desensitized to these horrors on a regular basis. Therefore, she can share these intimate issues, and be applauded for her honesty, when really the material is just more of the same desensitization. How many rapes, assaults, molestations, and domestic violence occurences is the basic prime time TV watcher exposed to? The CDC published the statistics of how many women and men have been victimized sexually in great detail:


As a result of attempting to re-read this book, and subsequent articles handed out with similar storylines, I have spent the past 48 hours in a very scary emotional and physical place (Please see attached PTSD links). This class is not a “Women’s Studies” class and is not described as such in the catalog. I find it very reckless to assume this subject matter is acceptable to ALL adults without some pre-screening. While I understand that many writers and editors will say that discomfort can be a great well of material, it is not safe to assume that all writers WANT to go there…

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Response to FirstLight (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:48 PM

5. her reply is why i am dropping the class and at lkeast filing a complaint to the Dean

The attached does not meet the requirements of the assignment, but I am happy to provide an alternative assignment for this and for the talk next Thursday since you had such a difficult time getting through this.
I am sorry you have struggled with this material and I cannot guarantee that future assignments (including topics that other students write about) will not be difficult for you, and you are certainly welcome to withdraw from the class if you feel you need to.
And I disagree with your assessment of the course materials. The Source of All Things, as a piece of literature, directly contributes to achieving the student learning outcomes in the course. In a class of this nature, writing personal narratives, different things are triggers for different people—I cannot predict this, nor can I know what lurks in my students’ pasts, and it was not my intention to teach material that is upsetting.

she takes NO responsibility to making us read not only that book but several articles of rape/trauma porn...nope NOT okay with ME!
I decided my feeling of being sane and safe outweighs the need to stick it out in this class.

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